Narendra Modi comment was just a slip of tongue, says Ananthamurthy

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The celebrated writer speaks to iamin about his views on RSS, threat calls from Modi supporters, views on the recent Lok Sabha elections and his political ideologies

Dr. Udupi Rajagopalacharya Ananthamurthy, the 82-year-old Kannada writer, who made news in September last year after he said that he will not live in a country that is ruled by Narendra Modi, has made it back to news after BJP swept the Lok Sabha polls across the country. This time the Jnanapith award winner is in news for receiving tickets to Pakistan from the NaMo Brigade and for receiving threating calls from alleged RSS members asking him to leave India. Post these developments, a platoon of the Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP) has been deployed outside his house.

In an interview with iamin.in he clarifies his stand, shares his views on the elections, the RSS, the now in power BJP and the decimated Congress.

Why did you earlier state that you did not wish to live in a country ruled by Narendra Modi?

That comment was just a slip of tongue. I just want to say that I don’t want to live under Modi’s rule. It’s just a way of exaggeration; anyone who has common sense will understand that. But Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) members are illiterates. They take things literally and now want me to leave this country.

It has been in the news that party supporters have already sent you tickets to Pakistan, is it true?
No, they did not send me tickets, but they wanted me to leave the country yesterday (May 20). They just sent me mails and informed me that they are from the RSS. This is an indication for things to come. My friends suggested that I need to give details of these calls and mails to the police. But I don’t want to trap myself in any game. I think I am too old to do such things.

Why are rumours of you receiving tickets for Pakistan being spread?
I have no idea; because of this very reason I have policemen guarding my house all times. I am embarrassed because of this as I don’t want a van full of police officials protecting me and my house. They have other work to do and the officers should be used for better purposes.

Did you request for protection?

No, I think some of my friends know about the controversy and they might have asked for security.

Did anyone misbehave with you or attack you physically after you made the comment on Modi?
Yes, but only through phone calls. No physical misbehaviour.

Why don’t you reply to the intimidators and clarify things?
I did clarify the next day itself, but no one is really bothered about that. But let me clarify one thing now, I won’t even leave Karnataka. This is my place.

Did your life change after making the comment?
Not at all. I have always been like this. Earlier I used to be vocally very critical about Indira Gandhi, but I was never abused nor punished. Even now, Modi did not punish me, but few of his fans are punishing me psychologically.

Do you think Modi knows about the incident?
No or perhaps yes. Because he is also from RSS, he might have done these kinds of things when he was young.

How did you react when you came to know about the FB page created against you by the Namo Brigade?
I am aware that they have a cyber army active on Facebook but I don’t know how to use it .I was told by my friends about this. But I have not seen it myself. If I switch on my system I want to read something solid or useful and not such things.

What kind of emotions did you go through on the vote counting day?
I knew that BJP would win.

Are you anti- BJP or pro-congress?
No I am not pro-Congress. But I am an admirer of many people from the Congress like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. I like their socialist ideology. I am much more critical about the communal ideology of BJP. If there are BJP and Congress candidates competing against each other then I will vote for the latter. If competition is between Congress and the communist candidate then I will vote for the communist one. I will opt for somebody who is much more radical in their views on poverty and education. Modi comes from a lower caste and today he has reached such a powerful position .That is the glory of India. Our country was run once upon a time under the ideologies of Gandhi, Ambedkar, Nehru, and Jai Prakash Narayan, who fought for the empowerment of the untouchables. It is because of this that Modi has achieved his position and not because of the RSS ideology of communalism.

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